Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health today. But one HealthTech startup is working to turn this around with Diag-Nose – a rapid diagnostic tool that helps physicians to only prescribe antibiotics to patients who truly need them.
Antibiotic resistant bacteria emerge naturally through evolution. But this process speeds up in cases where antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed and overused. As a result, a growing number of infections are becoming harder to treat.
CTO, Eldin Rostom’s passion for tackling clinically unmet needs with healthcare innovations like Diag-Nose is shaped by lived experience. Eldin comes from an African island, where the healthcare system is still developing and striving to meet increasing demands from lower socio-economic families.
“There, I was born with an illness which led to acute manifestations and hospitalisation when I was 15 years old,” says Eldin.
Having spent a significant time within hospital walls, Eldin developed a deep empathy for healthcare professionals, patients and their families alike. He realised that technology plays a huge role in enabling physicians to practice sustainable care.
“My vision is to drive innovation to make healthcare affordable to everyone to suit their individual needs, no matter their socio-economic background,” says Eldin.
Diag-Nose is one of his first endeavours to achieve this vision and was recently awarded Best Project in Stanford University’s Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat (EENT) Innovation Course in California.
Reviewing clinical cases, the Diag-Nose team was puzzled by the ambiguity in diagnosing acute bacterial sinusitis versus its viral manifestation.
As a result, there was a tremendous mismatch between the rate of suspected infections (<10%) versus the rate of antibiotic prescriptions (>80%).
Preliminary interviews with clinicians revealed that there was a strenuous push from patients to get their prescription on the first visit.
“As pure coincidence, one of my Californian housemates who was experiencing common cold symptoms told us how he argued his way into getting prescriptions from his primary care physician on that same day,” says Eldin.
“Our main insight was that clinicians want to provide better care and that patients want to access better care, but the bridge in between is missing and their intentions are often miscommunicated.”
This gave birth to the idea of a rapid diagnostic tool that gives clinicians an objective result about whether antibiotics are really needed when patients present with symptoms of acute sinusitis.
Diag-Nose is now gaining traction in Australia, with Eldin recently becoming a finalist in the MedTech’s Got Talent Challenge Rapid Fire Rounds. In the coming weeks, Eldin will work closely with his new mentor, Ben Cullen from IDE Group – a leader in discovering, developing and delivering meaningful products and services.
Ben will help Eldin get ready to shine in the Gala Finals, delivered by the MedTech Actuator. On HealthTech’s night of nights, the brightest entrepreneurs from Australia – and for the first time, India – will battle it out for a share in $50,000.
For Eldin, having Ben as his mentor is one of the best things to come out of the Challenge.
“Not only does he have practical experience and proven methodologies on how to develop products that will address the stakeholder’s pain points, but he also shares similar views and values with our team in regard to driving healthcare innovation and improving real patient outcomes,” says Eldin.
Eldin’s top tip for aspiring HealthTech entrepreneurs is to set the bar high before committing to solving a clinically unmet need.
“Make sure it’s a problem worth solving and that it’s clearly defined. You need to understand the target market, the stakeholders involved, the existing solutions and disease state before you can objectively decide whether it’s a clinically unmet need or not,” says Eldin.
“And once you do, thoroughly scrutinise your solution, business model and pathway to market (reimbursement, regulatory, IP, etc.). Once you have the whole picture in front of you, it’ll be a lot easier to execute your plan without getting too blindsided.”
Want to see Eldin pitch at the Gala Finals? Book your tickets today!
Thank you to our major Challenge partners and sponsors – we couldn’t do this without you: The Federal Government, The Department of Industry, Innovation & Science; The Victorian Government, The Department of Jobs, Precincts & Regions; Global Victoria; LaunchVic; Government of Karnataka; Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre; Johnson & Johnson; Cook Medical; Medtronic; K&L Gates; Vestech; IDE Group; Design + Industry; Tricycle Developments; Ingenuity Electronics Design; Outerspace Design; MiniFAB; LEAP Australia and Wave Digital.